Title: Improving training in enterprise resource planning systems implementation through communities of practice

Authors: Don Kerr; Kevin J. Burgess; Luke Houghton; Peter A. Murray

Addresses: Faculty of Arts and Business, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, QLD 4558, Australia. ' Centre for Defence Acquisition, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, Cranfield University, Shrivenham, SL6 8LA, UK. ' Griffith Business School, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia. ' Faculty of Business and Law, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba 4350, Queensland, Australia

Abstract: The Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) literature suggests that effective training is one of the key reasons for success in ERP implementations. However, limited research has been conducted on what constitutes effective training in an ERP environment. A case study approach was used to explore the effectiveness of traditional training and to consider if a community based approach could enhance successful training outcomes. There were two major findings. First, the effectiveness of traditional ERP training approaches was limited due to an overreliance on simplistic transmission models and poor appreciation of the role played by organisational context. Second, Communities of Practice (CoPs) allowed ERP implementation training to be more effective through a better dissemination of the training material to the majority of staff who found formal training less effective. This was achieved through the employment of a range of spontaneous strategies including work-a-rounds to overcome perceived weaknesses in the formal information systems.

Keywords: communities of practice; CoPs; ERP; enterprise resource planning; planning systems; traditional training; effectiveness; successful outcomes; simplistic models; transmission models; organisational contexts; implementation training; training materials; formal training; spontaneous strategies; work-a-rounds; perceived weaknesses; formal systems; information systems; Australia; transportation; learning; change.

DOI: 10.1504/IJLC.2012.050874

International Journal of Learning and Change, 2012 Vol.6 No.3/4, pp.207 - 222

Received: 09 Aug 2012
Accepted: 05 Nov 2012

Published online: 06 Dec 2012 *

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